Police break up fight outside fundraiser for Orange County D.A. in Costa Mesa

Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer
Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer speaks at CSU Sacramento on Aug. 21, 2020.
(Randall Benton / Associated Press)

Costa Mesa police were called after a fight broke out between protesters and attendees of a political fundraiser for Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer this week, authorities said.

One man was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, police said. No arrests were made.

About 10 demonstrators were outside the reception in the 400 block of East 17th Street at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Costa Mesa police said in a statement. Some of them held signs calling for the release of an anti-racism activist who is jailed on accusations of running her car into supporters of President Trump in Seal Beach, according to video of the incident posted on social media.

Thursday’s altercation touched off when two men exited the event, and a female protester approached one and yelled, “You look like a woman beater,” through a bullhorn, according to the video. The man then spits on her, the profanity-laced video shows.

He then exchanges blows with the woman, as well as another protester who intervened, the footage shows. Others in the crowd also get involved.

The man’s boyfriend, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an emailed statement that the protesters had taunted them with homophobic slurs prior to the altercation.


The fight left him with a bloody nose and his boyfriend was pepper sprayed and required medical attention for cuts to his face, he wrote.

No slurs can be heard in the video. Officers interviewed all parties and took a report of an allegation of assault and battery, a spokeswoman for the Costa Mesa Police Department said. The investigation is in its early stages and remains open, she said.

The altercation came the same day Orange County Democrats issued a call for an independent investigation into Spitzer’s office following reports that four women prosecutors filed legal claims alleging that they and a 16-year-old intern had been sexually harassed by Spitzer’s friends. The claims allege that Spitzer enabled the culture of harassment by hiring and promoting the men, and also tried to retaliate against one of the women when she came forward with her allegations, according to Voice of OC.

Spitzer has denied the claims.

Separately, Spitzer faces a lawsuit filed by a D.A.’s office investigator who led the probe into sexual assault allegations against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend. The investigator, Jennifer Kearns, has accused Spitzer of sabotaging the prosecution of the case and retaliating against her for investigating the couple.